American fashion designer Mychael Knight has died at the age of 39.

The German-born fashion star was best known for appearing on Project Runway where he became a finalist, and died last night (17 October) in Atlanta.

A close friend of Knight, Jerris Madison, who is editor of Obvious Magazine, posted an official statement on behalf of the Knight family.

The Instagram statement read: "We are still processing the untimely death of our son, brother, friend, and uncle. Mychael meant everything to us and we loved him dearly. He was generous and so full of life. This is how we choose to remember his legacy."

The cause of Knight's death is not yet known, yet it is thought it was possibly related to recent treatments for intestinal issues. His past Facebook posts – which have since been deleted – indicated that he suffered from chronic abdominal pain, fatigue and exhaustion.

Tributes have poured in over the late star, with host and producer Andy Cohen tweeting: "I am so sad to hear about Mychael Knight. When he appeared on #ProjectRunway he was the sweetest guy, full of life, ambition & talent. #rip".

Singer Keri Hilson said: "Sending love & prayers to every friend & family member of #MychaelKnight. I know you will be missed by all who were blessed to know you."

Another fan wrote: "Rest In Peace to Designer Mychael Knight. Gone too soon. I met him years ago and he was such a talented man. He will never be forgotten."

Knight spent his childhood in Montgomery, Alabama, and had a Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel Design and Merchandising.

He broke into the fashion industry in Atlanta, Georgia, by working as an intern at Wilbourn Exclusives in 2001 – later becoming a fashion stylist in the music industry in 2002.

He became a contestant on Project Runway: All Stars season three.